Thursday, January 2, 2014


Turmeric is probably the most revered spice in Ayurveda. It is more than just a spice. One cannot imagine a Hindu festival or wedding without this amazing wonder of nature. The western world has just started to understand turmeric whereas our ancestors knew it properties for centuries and incorporated it in our daily cuisine.

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties and is considered a blood purifier. Curcumin, found in turmeric, is an anti-oxidant. Anti-oxidant is a substance that has the ability to stabilize or neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. There is a lot of research being done to see whether turmeric can be used to treat arthritis.

It is interesting to see how Indian culture has incorporated turmeric in everyday life. My grandma once told me that her mother used to apply turmeric paste daily to her feet. The reason behind this custom is that not many wore sandals/chappals in olden days and by applying turmeric paste they made sure that their feet were healthy. We Konkani's (GSB's) incorporate it in our pooja and each and every auspicious occasion.

  • Turmeric helps reduce pigmentation on the face and even out your skin tone. It can be easily done at home. Mix a little turmeric with cucumber or lemon juice and apply to your face. Leave it for some time and wash off. A one-time application will be of little help and only regular use will give a soft glow to your face.
  • Troubled with acne? Turmeric is a beauty ingredient that is harmless and yet offers great results. Turmeric mixed with sandalwood powder and a little water, and applied to the face can greatly reduce the appearance of acne. Turmeric can replace all the expensive face creams and gels.
  • Here’s a great idea for an all over body scrub. Mix some turmeric with gram flour and water and use it to scrub all over your body before your shower. It helps in reducing skin infections (like itching, marks left on body due to chicken pox and even rashes).
  • Try applying a mixture of turmeric with yogurt to the parts on your skin which has stretch marks. It is said that if you continue this regularly, it will help in maintaining the elasticity of the skin and prevent stretch marks.
  • For those who want to reduce the hair growth on their face, turmeric again comes to the rescue. Regular washing with turmeric reduces facial hair growth significantly.
  • My Grandmother often preferred to apply a paste of turmeric to minor cuts, bruises and bumps as it reduces the swelling just as an ice pack would do, without the discomfort. Its various antiseptic properties are perfect for using it for minor cuts, wounds and abrasions and it helps in quickening the healing process.
  • If you've accidentally burnt your hand in the kitchen, here’s a quick remedy to ease the burn. Mix a teaspoon of turmeric with some aloe gel and apply to the burn.
  • Dump those D Cold and other medicines (for cold) and simply mix a spoonful of turmeric in hot milk and drink it down. The hot milk eases the throat and the turmeric fights infection in the throat.
  • Turmeric helps reducing gum infections also! Apply a mixture of turmeric, rock salt and mustard oil to the affected area around two to three times a day. Follow this by washing your mouth with a little warm water.
  • Feeling listless and tired? Then a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed with honey helps.
  • Turmeric powder mixed with water is also known to help diarrhoea.

Another interesting way to benefit from turmeric is to take it in the form of tea. Here is a simple recipe for Turmeric Tea: Boil water, add turmeric powder, grated ginger (or cardamom pods work well too), little sugar. Add some milk. Let it simmer for a few more seconds. Enjoy. I got this recipe from an neighbor in Mumbai.

But sadly due to adulteration of food products turmeric these days can turn into a bane rather than a boon.